The town of Lewes got its start back in 1631 when a little more than two-dozen men from Holland sailed to the New World to establish a whale-oil colony along the western shores of the Delaware Bay. As the fort of Swanendael, or Valley of the Swans, was centralized, a misunderstanding between the colonists and the native people led to the fort's destruction and the colonists' massacre. Given the initial colonization of Swanendael, this allows Lewes to lay claim to being "the First Town in the First State."
By 1682, William Penn was granted the three lower counties that now make up Delaware as part of his Pennsylvania territory. Penn decided to name the southernmost county for Sussex, England, his home province, and renamed Deale as Lewes after the port city in Sussex, England.
The town thrived as people arrived and merchants set up shop over the years. Churches and a courthouse were built as the town grew and became a busy port where ships would restock supplies. Lewes also served as the seat of Sussex County until 1791 when the government was relocated to Georgetown, a more central location.
By the 1960s, the menhaden business bottomed out. The fish that had produced an industry disappeared and the companies that relied on it had moved on. The loss of that industry, as well as a clam factory, marked a monumental change for Lewes.
From 1990 to 2000, nearly 700 additional full-time residents settled in to make Lewes their new home. The population, according to the 2000 census, came in at a little more than 2,900 people.
With nearly four centuries of history, Lewes has been transformed from a community of whalers and fishermen to one that is equally dependent on the sea, but in a much different way. Tourism has helped fuel a 20-year growth spurt in Lewes. Picturesque beach homes have replaced quaint cottages amid the sand dunes, and hardware stores and mom-and-pop stores have made way for bistros and boutiques. The new wave of residents has come seeking a slower paced lifestyle, lower taxes, and the lack of urban crime.
Lewes also remains an east coast port of call and is home to a large fleet of charter fishing boats. It is likewise the base of the Delaware Bay and River Pilots Association, whose members guide cargo vessels to and from the ports of Wilmington and Philadelphia. Lewes is also the site of the University of Delaware College of Marine Studies and is the southern terminal for the Cape May-Lewes Ferry.
Founded in 1934 by legendary Czech pianist Josef Pálenícek, the Smetana Trio became the first Czech ensemble to win the BBC Music Magazine Award in 2007. The trio's recording of works by Smetana, Suk and Novák received awards from Diapason and Le Monde de la Musique and was selected by BBC Music Magazine as its chamber music recording of the month.
Fandango! is a toe-tappingly spicy mix of Latin, Spanish, Sephardic, Balkan, and classical sounds. Founded by four multi-award-winning, globe-trotting virtuosi who hail from Spain, the USA, former Yugoslavia, and the UK. Fandango musicians have played, separately and together, on the world’s most prestigious stages. Purchase tickets at www.coastalconcerts.org.
KELLY J. FRITCHMAN MEMORIAL 5K - Join the fun July 7, 2018, at Irish Eyes Pub in Lewes! 5K, USATF certified, fast, flat and scenic, Kiddie K, post-race refreshments, raffle & more. Benefitting the Kelly J. Fritchman Swimming Scholarship. Register at: www.races2run.com
|Bob Evans Farms Restaurant||Lewes, DE||302-645-0871|
|Cafe Azafran||Lewes, DE||302-644-4446|
|China Garden||Lewes, DE||302-645-6445|
|Fish On!||Lewes, DE||302-645-9790|
|Fisherman's Wharf||Lewes, DE||302-645-8862|
|Gilligan's Waterfront Restaurant||Lewes, DE||302-644-0723|
|Hing Wang Chinese Restaurant||Lewes, DE||302-645-0889|
|Irish Eyes||Lewes, DE||302-645-6888|
|JD Shuckers||Lewes, DE||302-945-8850|
|Lemon Tree Restaurant||Lewes, DE||302-645-0481|
|Mr. P Pizza & Pasta||Lewes, DE||302-645-1900|
|Pelican Grille||Lewes, DE||302-945-6620|
|Striper Bites||Lewes, DE||302-645-4657|
|Surf Bagel & Deli||Lewes, DE||302-644-1822|
|The Buttery||Lewes, DE||302-645-7755|
|The Wharf||Lewes, De||302-645-6271|
|Tijuana Taxi||Lewes, DE||302-644-8294|
|Tokyo Steakhouse||Lewes, DE||302-645-9728|
|Albert Frank's Fine Jewelry||Lewes, DE||302-645-1718|
|Aquamarine on Market||Lewes, DE||302-644-4550|
|Auntie M's Emporium||Lewes, DE||302-644-1804|
|Back Bay Art Glass, LLC||Lewes, DE||302-645-1825|
|Blooming Boutique||Lewes, DE||302-644-2463|
|Cape Henlopen Wicker||Lewes, DE||302-644-2000|
|Chatelaine's Jewelry||Lewes, DE||302-645-1511|
|Creative Concepts||Lewes, DE||302-645-6200|
|Habersham Peddler Interiors||Lewes, DE||302-645-8383|
|Heritage Antique Market||Lewes, DE||302-645-2309|
|Josephine Keir Ltd- Antiques, Fine Arts & Rugs||Lewes, DE||302-645-9047|
|Kids' Ketch||Lewes, DE||302-645-8448|
|Lewes Gourmet||Lewes, DE||302-645-1661|
|Lewes Mercantile Antique Gallery||Lewes, DE||302-645-7900|
|Mare's Bears Quilt Shop||Lewes, DE||302-644-0556|
|Mugs & Stitches||Lewes, DE||302-360-3600|
|P.U.P.S. of Lewes||Lewes, DE||302-645-9010|
|The Beach Jetty||Lewes, DE||302-645-4606|
|The Furniture Gallery||Lewes, DE||302-645-7043|
|The Soap Fairy||Lewes, DE||302-645-4596|
|The Stepping Stone||Lewes, DE||302-645-1254|
|Trader's Jewelry & Gifts||Lewes, DE||302-645-6536|
|Twila Farrell / The Figurehead||Lewes, DE||302-645-7007|
|Two Friends, Ltd.||Lewes, DE||302-644-0477|
|Very European||Lewes, DE||302-644-7778|
|Beacon Motel||Lewes, DE||302-645-4888|
|Blue Water House||Lewes, DE||302-645-7832|
|Cape Henlopen Motel||Lewes, DE||302-645-2828|
|Hotel Blue||Lewes, DE||302-645-4880|
|Hotel Rodney||Lewes, DE||302-645-6466|
|Inn at Canal Square||Lewes, DE||302-644-3377|
|King's Inn||Lewes, DE||302-645-6438|
|Lazy L at Willow Creek||Lewes, DE||302-644-7220|
|Red Mill Inn||Lewes, DE||302-645-9736|
|Sleep Inn & Suites||Lewes, DE||302-644-8796|
|Sleep Inn & Suites||Lewes, DE||302-645-6464|
|Vesuvio Motel||Lewes, DE||302-645-2224|
|Virden House Bed & Breakfast||Lewes, DE||302-644-4402|